Friday, August 20, 2010
Anti-Gay Vandalism Strikes Salt Lake City; Utah Pride Center's Cafe Marmalade Targeted With Graffiti
The Salt Lake Tribune's LGBT blogger Rosemary Winters reports on August 20th, 2010 that the Utah Pride Center's Cafe Marmalade has been targeted with anti-gay graffiti, as you can see from the photo posted above. It was first discovered on the morning of August 20th. Additional stories posted by the Deseret News and the Salt Lake City Weekly; KSL news video embedded below:
Cafe staff notified the Salt Lake City Police Department, who managed to take time out from their incessant DUI and seatbelt checks to actually dispatch the Crime Scene Unit to begin investigating the crime. Valerie Larabee, the Executive Director of Utah Pride, issued a statement: “We realize that often times the purpose of these actions are to cause widespread fear among the members of our community...That is why today we are speaking out. This will not be swept under the rug. We will not be scared into silence by acts of intolerance.” But Utah Pride continues to welcome civil, respectful dialogue with those who disagree with its mission.
The latter statement is important. Vandalism is neither civil nor respectful. It degrades a community and creates fear. Graffiti is NOT art; never has been, never will be. One's opinion about homosexuality and gay marriage is irrelevant in this case; vandalism is not an appropriate way to express disagreement with homosexuality or the gay agenda. The Wasatch Front saw an even worse example of anti-gay bias when the home of D.J. Bell and Dan Fair was invaded and the two occupants violently assaulted in 2008; only now are the perpetrators being brought to justice.
The people who tagged the sign are no better than the predominantly Latino or Polynesian gangbangers who tag walls, fences, buildings, and road signs up and down the Wasatch Front.
But no discussion of this incident is complete without examining how the victims may have helped perpetuate the backlash undoubtedly fueling this act. Many in the community are outraged over the gay lobby's continuing efforts to legalize gay marriage, to include using unelected judges to circumvent democratic votes. Many were outraged over efforts by individual gay activists to target and harass Mormons and Catholics after Proposition 8 was passed in California in 2008. Some continue to be outraged over the ongoing proliferation of gay-straight clubs on our nation's high school and middle school campuses. Gay activists need to better address the perception that they are promoting rights ahead of responsibilities.
And, of course, it is not unheard of for victims to stage their own hate crimes. One of the most outrageous examples of the latter was when Susan Smith drowned her kids in 1994, then blamed it on "blacks". Her role was uncovered and she was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison.
But in any event, all of us, whether liberal or conservative, must send a message that vandalism and graffiti are unacceptable means of expression. To drive that message home, we should consider deliberately going out of our way to patronize the Cafe Marmalade at least one time. The Cafe Marmalade is located at 361 North 300 West in Salt Lake City, and is open Weekdays 6am-9pm, and Sat and Sun 7am-9pm.